the push to restart. the japanese prime minister gets ready to talk to the public about powering up an idle nuclear plant. yoshihiko node to is choosing his words, preparing to convince the public. he'll speak to the country later in the day about restarting a nuclear plant in western japan. all the country's 50 reactors are now offline. noda is expected to tell people about the need for power during a long hot summer. noda will stress that the ohi plant is safe and he'll tell people it's a vital source of energy for powering the japanese economy.
first, noda needs the approval of local government leaders to restart two reactors at the plant. the governor of fukui prefecture put forward several conditions when he met on monday with nuclear power policy mip ster goshi hosono. he said a direct explanation from the prime minister would put people at ease. the explanation from noda is the last of nishakawa's conditions. the governor is is expected to give his approval as early as next week. people who rate government bonds are worried that spain can't escape european debt woes. ai uchida joins us now from the business desk. ai, i understand there's been a credit downgrade? >> one of our analysts at one of the agencies thinks spain is barely of investment grade. credit rating agency fitch downgraded spain's sovereign bonds amid concern the european debt crisis could spread further. fitch slashed its rating for spanish government bonds three
notches from "a" to bbb. the agency attributed the downgrade to the growing possibility that the spanish government will request a bailout from the european union. fitch estimates the cost of restructurinrecapitalizing spanish banks could reach as high as 100 billion euro. it also forecasts that spain will remain in recession through 2013 before showing signs of economic recovery. the spanish government is commissioning outside auditors to estimate the cost of recapitalizing the country's banks. it will finalize a plan this month to reform the banking sector. officials insist spain does not need a bailout. however, some financial analysts believe the country will have no choice but to ask for international assistance. u.s. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke urged european nations to take further action. he said europe needs to improve the balance sheets of financial
institutions and to dispose of bad loans. bernanke made the statement at a congressional panel hearing on thursday. >> the more will likely be needed to stabilize euro area banks, calm market fears about sovereign finances, achieve a workable fiscal framework for the euro area, and lay the townatitow foundations for longer term economic growth. >> he also said the crisis in europe has affected the u.s. economy by acting as a drag on its exports. this is weighing on business and consumer confidence and pressuring domestic financial markets. bernanke stressed that the fed will take appropriate action including additional monetary easing if the economy deteriorates. but in the markets the dow jones industrial average ended in the positive. that was in reaction to news of a rate cut in china which came before the u.s. fed chairman's view on the u.s. economy. this capped the u.s. stock,
advanced. the dow ended up 0.4% at 12,460. well, for more we're going to go to ramin mellegard who's at the tokyo stock exchange. ramin, quite a surprise move from china. how are stocks starting this friday morning here in tokyo? >> very good morning to you, ai. yes, looks like markets are actually taking more of a tack from chairman bernanke's words than the rate cut from china. and that follows on from the surprise move from china to cut the interest rates. but then, of course, the fed chairman er bernanke's statemenn front of the joint banking committee in congress actually tempered some of the gains and we're seeing that reflected in the opening levels. let's have a look at the nikkei and the topix here this friday morning june 8th here in japan. and just looking at the nikkei right now, you can see actually it is trading a little bit lower. before markets opened here, we
also did have economic data. we did have japan's current balance coming at $4.2 billion and gdp from january to march was revised to 4.7%. now, markets really, though, focusing very much on what central bank officials have been saying and does look as if we're getting more of a slant from the rather guarded words from fed chairman bernanke. but news of the china rate cut actually may help the manufacturing sector and commodity and energy-related stocks here in japan going forward. and there was quite a concerted effort there from the chinese government there to boost growth with this aggressive move. we also saw oil prices tick higher right after that move as well. so that was quite a key indication from the market reflection after the move by china. china's really looking to boost its manufacturing, following months of contraction in that sector and of its economy.
so japanese companies related to manufacturing, construction machinery, for instance, should gain on the back of that going forward. chairman bernanke's words, though, did temper markets. investors really hoping that he would say a little bit more about the u.s. economy. having said that, though, let's not forget the fmoc will meet in just under two weeks so he could have just been keeping some of his statements until that major federal open market committee later on. in europe, of course, as you mentioned there, the fitch downgrade of spain, again, reignites concerns about european markets and just having a quick look at the levels as well, we've seen dollar/yen holding pretty steady but the euro actually gaining a little bit against the yen. now trading at 100 levels. ai? >> ramin, the china rate cut comes ahead of key data this weekend out of china. would you say they timed that well? >> exactly. that comes ahead of key cpi and
trade data. we'll see how that pans out over weekend. it does look, never thels, as an aggressive move by china to boost its economy. we'll see how that comes back to the markets on monday. back to you. >> all right, ramin, thanks a lot for the update. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. both the nikkei and topix in the negative this morning. i'll leave you with a check on other markets that are open this hour. western powers are looking at various ways to increase the pressure on the syrian
government. leaders of china, russia, and four central asian countries said they oppose any military intervention to stop the violence. nhk world reports from beijing. >> reporter: the six leaders adopted a joint statement in beijing on thursday at the end of the two-day summit of the shanghai corporation organization. a mutual security and economic group. chinese president hu jintao and russian president vladimir putin took part. while iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad attended as an observer. the statement declares the shanghai group is against interference in the affairs of the middle eas and north africa. it also rejects any influenced hand-over of power with sanctions and stresses that problems should be resolved with dialogue. the syrian violence comes in the wake of the arab spring.
those uprisings overturned regimes across the middle east that had been friendly with china. analysts say china may fear exit of assad could open the door to more western demands of the region. nhk world, beijing. iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad has asked russian president vladimir putin to support his country's nuclear program. the two leaders met in beijing on the sidelines of a regional security summit. both nations quoted ahmadinejad as asking russia to support iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. the iranian president said his country's first nuclear power plant, built and operated with russia's technical assistance, is a symbol of bilateral nuclear cooperation. putin said russia backs iran's peaceful nuclear development, but not the development of nuclear weapons. starting on june 18th, iranian
officials are scheduled to visit moscow to attend the next round of international negotiations over the country's nuclear program. talks with the united states, britain, france, germany, russia, and china are expected to be difficult. the australian government says it will lift economic sanctions against myanmar to support the country's democracy movement. australian foreign minister bob carr made the announcement in myanmar after meeting with president thein sein and opposition leader aung san suu kyi. carr welcomed the democracy process under way in the country and stressed the need to speed it up. he said the government will lift sanctions against myanmar within a few weeks. this will remove bans on financial transactions and travel restrictions on military personnel. carr also said australia will double its annual aid to almost $100 million u.s. dollars by
2015. funds sent to myanmar will be used mainly in the areas of education, medicine, law, and social support systems. afghan karzai is condemning an air strike carried out by nato on wednesday. he says innocent civilians became victims. karzai is devoting his full attention to the situation, cutting short an official visit to beijing. patchari raksawong at our ba bangkok bureau has the details. >> the afghan president says 18 civilians were killed in the attack. he announced an early departure from an official visit to china to return home and consider the appropriate response. officials in logar province out of kabul say forces targeted homed. they say many civilians including women and children
were killed. international forces have acknowledged the air strike, but say they have not confirmed any civilian deaths. karzai denounces the action saying a nato air strike in which civilian lives are lost and property damaged does not have any justification and it is not acceptable. the air strike follows suicide bombings by the taliban in kandahar on tuesday. 22 civilians were killed and about 60 others wounded. the taliban bombings are compromising security and the air strike fueling anti-nato sentiment in afghanistan. karzai's early return home indicates he is taking the situation very seriously. the demand for natural gas is rapidly increasing in emerging economies such as china and india. malaysia has been a major supplier of gas in asia. this week the country is hosting a conference to discuss the future of the energy source. nhk world reports. >> there's now a recognition we
have entered into the golden age of gas. >> reporter: the world gas conference kicked off this week. the event held every three years welcomes drilling companies and researchers from more than 80 countries around the world. a major theme is how countries can secure sufficient gas supplies. malaysia boasts a number of gas fields in adjacent waters which has allowed it to be a major exporter of gas to other asian countries. but malaysia has been facing serious gas shortages in recent years as its own booming economy pushes up domestic energy demand. this is the new facility constructed three kilometers off the shore of malaysia. this facility is not to plus produce natural gas but to import it. >> as we continue to grow and develop, the demand for energy, demand for electricity, and the
demand for gas will increase. >> reporter: malaysia is not the only gas producing country facing a surge in domestic consumption. indonesia is another major supplier of natural gas. but the government adopted the policy this year to curtail gas exports and use those supplies to meet domestic demand. meanwhile, demand continues to rise in industrialized countries which have long been major consumers. the prolonged suspension of nuclear power plants in japan means increased demand for natural gas to generate electricity. japan imported 12% more gas last year than the year before. in a desperate effort to secure new energy sources, japan is one of many countries setting their sights on shale gas which is extracted from sedimentary rock deep under ground. tokyo gas, japan's leader, is
is already taking part in joint projects to extract shale gas in the united states and other countries. >> translator: liquified natural gas is certain to become extremely important for japan's future energy supply. we feel that our responsibility is great. >> reporter: but these efforts have just begun. while natural gas supplies from southeast asia dwindle, international competition to secure natural gas is becoming increasingly fierce. nhk world. and that's going to wrap up our bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. north korean leader kim jong-un has made military security and nuclear development his country's top priority since taking power. the north is also seeking ways
to rebuild its tattered economy. that's capturing the attention of some businesspeople in europe. nhk world reports. ♪ >> reporter: a new restaurant opened in the dutch capital of amsterdam in february. pyongyang restaurant serves north korean cuisine establishments featuring north korean dishes are popular in china and southeast asia, but this may be the first such eatery in europe. >> the food is very nice. and it's special for us to see the paintings and the music. >> reporter: north korean waitresses work at the restaurant. a nine-course dinner cost 79 euros or roughly $100 u.s. dollars.
the business' dutch operators say north korean officials showed a keen interest when they first heard the idea. >> north korea needs money, and, yeah, at the moment they don't receive enough money, so of course there will be more opportunities. >> reporter: according to the international monetary fund, north korea's top trade partner is china, its historical ally. the eu ranks fourth. this man has spent last two decades trying to strengthen europe's trade ties with the north. his dutch business consultant, back in the 1990s, wanted to outsource computer software development overseas to save costs. he came across a north korean company. he has worked on developing ties with pyongyang ever since. for the past three years, he has
organized and led trade tour tn north korea. >> the political relationships are not very well and for this reason, they are forced to go to europe. and europe is a little bit between the united states and i would say other countries. >> reporter: he says timing might be right for european businesses to pursue opportunities in the north. china s been a manufacturing hub for europe, but chinese labor costs are rising. north korea's labor costs are about half of china's. he recently explained other pros and cons of doing business in north korea to european textile industry officials. 30 people attended the closed-door session.
he is optimistic that business conditions will get better over time. >> i'm maybe more positive about a new leadership than others. my personal belief is under the new leadership we will see more improvements in both business and economic development. >> earlier, my colleague sheri ahn spoke with nhk reporter to get some insights into new business tie-ups between europe and north korea. >> europe and north korea are both geographically and culturally quite distant.
it's interesting to hear european businesses are actually wanting to invest there. >> in fact, relations between europe and north korea run deep. many european countries have diplomatic relations with north korea. the north has embassies in london and several other capital cities in europe. and north korea's new leader, kim jong-un, wants it in switzerland. >> how does europe view north korea's nuclear development and missile programs? europe is see denuclearization of north korea just like japan, the united states, and south korea. at the same time, european countries have been using their diplomatic ties with north korea to pursue their own agendas. this was demonstrated when the delegation visited pyongyang in may 2001. the delegation came away when north korea pledged to temporarily freeze its missile tests. it appears that europe's strategy is to maintain pressure on pyongyang and at the same
time pursue a policy of engagement. >> and what about north korea? how does it view its relations with europe? >> there are three things to notice. first, north korea wants to strengthen its ties with europe in order to avoid becoming overdependent of china. the north also wants to show japan, united states, south korea, that it is not isolated internationally. third, north korea's government hopes the relation with europe will bolster north korea's current leadership. in other words, using european capital and investments to raise domestic living standards would enhance the leadership's credibility and increase its grip on power. >> so do you think economic ties between europe and north korea will deepen? if so, how soon can we see that happen? >> that depends on the north's actions. earlier this year north korean officials partially advised
foreign investment in a bid to attract foreign capital. european leaders will become wary if there are anymore provocative actions by the north. and kim jong-un's economic policy is yet not very clear. still, european businesses have high hopes for the young leader and the country's labor market. >> nhk world there. well, tokyo residents are enjoying a sunny morning before the rainy season starts. sayaka mori joins us now with the world weather forecast. >> that's right, catherine. we are seeing nice, clear skies here in tokyo. the expected high is 27. quite a warm day. rain is in the forecast. yes, rain season is just around the corner. heavy rain is affecting much of western japan with thundershowers along the pacific coast. again, the rain will spread into central japan including the tokyo area tomorrow.
back behind it, dry across the northern half of china, but seasonal rain is affecting much of the southern half of china. today, not too heavy, though, but heavy rain will target hunon province tomorrow, as much as 100 millimeters of rain is possible over a span of 24 hours. then down toward the south, the indochina peninsula has been dealing with torrential rain, lots of floods and landslides have been occurring. unfortunately, the heaviest rain will likely continue in parts of the southern areas of thailand today. as much as 116 millimeters of rain has been already falling, however, more rain will be coming down at least for the next couple of days. temperature-wise, 35 degrees in bangkok and 32 in hong kong. reaching 33 degrees in beijing, and the same goes for shanghai. tokyo coming up 27 degrees. it will cool down to 20 degrees as we head into saturday. all right.
heading over to the americas. we can see bright clouds over the plains. underneath the clouds we're seeing lots of active weather. the risk of severe weather will remain in north dakota down toward colorado. we have tornado warnings and watches in place in and around wyoming. it looks like heavy rain will move out of the region over the next 24 hours, but the western great lakes region and southwestern portion of ontario will turn quite wet on friday. and there's another batch of heavy rain moving into new england. to the south, a rain band is still lying over the coast of the gulf state. lots of thundershowers will likely remain for the next couple days. up toward the north, we have another low-pressure system bringing cold air moving into the british columbia region and the pacific northwest because the syst is dragging cold air, as i mentioned, temperatures are on the chilly side. 13 in vancouver. 14 in seattle.
feeling more like mid april here. but for the rest of the u.s., it's on the hot side. 30 degrees expected in chicago. and the same goes for oklahoma city. finally, let's go over to europe. we have a stationary low sitting over the british isles producing stormy weather. we have wind warnings in place in the southern portion of the uk. conditions will finally improve over the weekend. the associated front will move quickly over the western continent and head into central europe. we can see pink showing up. that means heavy rain will target parts of poland and austria in the next 24 hours. as for the highs, central europe, temperatures are on the warmer side. 24 in berlin and 27 degrees expected in vienna. out toward the east, looking mild in moscow with a high of 21 degrees and 23 in warsaw. here's your extended forecast.
our lead story this hour. japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda is making another push to restart a nuclear plant. he'll speak to the public later in the day. all of the country's0 reactors are now offline. noda will stress that the ohi plant in western japan is safe and he'll tell people that companies need it as a source of power. noda needs the approval of local government leaders to restart two reactors at the plant. the governor of fukui prefecture put forward several conditions when he met on monday with nuclear power policy minister goshi hosono. a direct explanation from the prime minister would put people at ease. the governor is expected to give his approval as early as next week. that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us.